Now you’re hot; then you’re cold; sometimes you’re happy; other times you’re angry, or sad. There’s no doubt: menopause can lead to emotional and physical turmoil.
In order to cope optimally with the stress of this life stage, it’s important to change your sources of stress and manage how you respond to it.
Identifying unrelieved stress and being intellectually aware of its effects simply isn’t enough – you have to try to reduce its harmful effects. After all, long-term, unmanaged stress can cause or worsen high blood pressure, heart disease, allergies, asthma, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, eczema and psoriasis.
Are you stressed?
The following are symptoms of an acute stress reaction:
• Fast-beating heart (often palpable)
• High blood pressure
• Racing breath (or a feeling that you’re not breathing)
• Sweaty palms
• Dry mouth
• Tense muscles
• Rushing thoughts
• Irrational fears and anxiety
A practical start
If you decide to start taking control of the stresses in your life, the following suggestions should be considered:
• Identify the culprits. Think about when, and why, you feel stressed. Do a stress assessment if you’re unsure what’s causing your stress. When identifying your stressors, it’s important to become aware of the fact that no-one and nothing can cause stress in you unless you allow it. This can lead to realising the control you have over your stressors or triggers.
• Start small. Make one or two conscious, positive choices each day, such as substituting a junk food for a healthy snack, making time for a short walk, or listening to relaxation music on your way to work. These tiny improvements will help you realise that you do have control.